Top 20 Happiest U.S. Cities for Young Professionals for 2012

Posted September 14, 2012

Looking for an updated list? Feel free to check and compare our 2013 with our 2011 list below:


CareerBliss data indicate company culture is a bigger driving force of employee satisfaction than compensation.


CareerBliss, the leading online career community empowering people to find happier jobs, with over 3 million open jobs, confidential reviews and salary information on CareerBliss.com, announced the latest data identifying the Top 20 Happiest U.S. Cities for Young Professionals for 2012. Los Angeles, San Jose and Sunnyvale top the list, affirming California leads the way for young professionals looking for workplace happiness.

“Through our research, we have found that a positive company culture, which focuses on overall happiness and not just compensation, is key for young professionals,” said Heidi Golledge, Chief Happiness Officer and co-founder of CareerBliss.  “We have cities ranking higher, even though some are paying less because they offer a happier life for employees who chose to live and work there.

“This study reveals what really matters to folks in their career.  It is vital for employers and young professionals to understand what factors impact their happiness so the YPs can feel empowered and know where to take their next career step or the employer can start to change their culture to create happiness.”

CareerBliss’ Top 20 Happiest U.S. Cities for Young Professionals for 2012

RankCityBliss Score
1Los Angeles, CA3.952
2San Jose, CA3.951
3Sunnyvale, CA3.950
4Indianapolis, IN3.942
5San Diego, CA3.884
6Irvine, CA3.866
7Atlanta, GA3.857
8Boston, MA3.845
9San Francisco, CA3.833
10San Antonio, TX3.828
11Las Vegas, NV3.820
12Seattle, WA3.784
13Irving, TX3.783
14Philadelphia, PA3.779
15Orlando, FL3.763
16Pittsburgh, PA3.743
17New York, NY3.716
18Plano, TX3.705
19Miami, FL3.679
20Houston, TX3.679

Methodology used to find the Top 20:

The research results are based on analysis from more than 38,000 employee reviews, completed between 2011 and 2012. Young professionals—defined by CareerBliss as employees with less than 10 years’ experience in a full-time position—were asked to rate 10 key factors that affect workplace happiness including, work-life balance, compensation, company culture, overall work environment, company reputation, relationships with managers and co-workers, opportunities for growth, job resources, daily tasks, and job autonomy.

The key factors were rated by employees on a 5-point scale, including an indication as to how important each factor was to their overall happiness at work. The numbers were combined to find an average rating of overall employee happiness for each respondent, and then sorted by location to find which cities have highest “Bliss Scores”—happiest young workers.

“Everyone at CareerBliss is dedicated to understanding what work environments are happiest for all professionals to help both employers and employees find true lasting success,” said Golledge. “This information can help mold the career path for young professionals and help employers build happier work environments that foster long-term employee relationships.”

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photo of The CareerBliss Team

The CareerBliss Team

CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!

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